Fire prevention doesn’t only happen in the fire season – it’s a year-round program of training, equipping and preparing our people and our forests.
Fire management begins all the way back when we design the layout of a forest before we plant it. We follow a set of guidelines that are designed for fire protection and suppression, as well as protecting other assets. Every forest is planted with strategic breaks and setbacks from boundaries and structures.
Fire season typically starts in November and continues through to March, although it varies every year depending on weather and landscape conditions.
At the beginning of the season firestart-up days are an important part of fire season preparations as all OneFortyOne employees, contractors and summer crew join together for a day of refresher training including practical fire drills in the forest.
In Australia our forest staff are on rotating fire duty throughout the fire season, so we can respond rapidly as soon as a blaze is detected. We have seven fire trucks for the ground level response as well as access to planes for fighting fires from the air. OneFortyOne in Australia also works closely with the two local firefighting agencies: the South Australian County Fire Service and the Victorian County Fire Authority.
We’re aiming to increase our collaboration to increase awareness and understanding of forestry, to help them tailor their approach to commercial forest fires. Cooperation also extends between forestry businesses, with the Forest Owners group offering mutual aid between plantations. We are currently working with other major Green Triangle forestry operations to enhance and extend that agreement, allowing us to do more to help one another in the event of a major fire. The regional strategy means fire managers and fire authorities collaborate to train people, improve equipment and patrol plantation areas. As part of this effort, we attend fire simulations and joint training events so we can all work to minimise losses to our communities.
OneFortyOne is a key stakeholder in rural fire management in the Nelson/Tasman and Marlborough/Kaikoura regions. We support the work of Fire Emergency New Zealand in both regions.
In both districts OneFortyOne works with other main rural fire stakeholders to provide resources and equipment to support Fire Emergency New Zealand to effectively manage rural fire.
We contribute to this effort by:
- maintaining a network of water points/fire ponds throughout the forests in the regions so that water is available, even in dry conditions.
- maintaining fire breaks and mown grass verges alongside major roads to reduce the possibility of ignition and fire spread.
- training our staff and contractors so they are equipped to respond to rural fire events both inside our own forests and also in the rural areas of Nelson and Marlborough.
- implementing operational controls during high fire danger periods.
- holding a large supply of fire fighting equipment including four dedicated rural fire appliances ready to respond should a fire start.